England 2 Czech Republic 2

August 20, 2008

England rescued a fortunate draw against Czech Republic but were poor in their last game before the start of the 2010 World Cup qualifiers.Milan Baros turned England skipper John Terry and had his shot deflected in off Ashley Cole to put the Czechs ahead.England equalised with a powerful Wes Brown header but were out-classed and outplayed by the visitors.Marek Jankulovski restored the Czech lead with a superb free-kick before Joe Cole scrambled home in injury time.Cole’s goal was more than England deserved and their performance will have given boss Fabio Capello plenty to think about before the qualifying campaign for the next World Cup starts against Andorra on 6 September and a game against Croatia four days later

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Italy 2 Austria 2

August 20, 2008

Emanuel Pogatetz put Austria in the lead against the run of play in the 14th minute before Marc Janko added a second in the 39th as Karel Bruckner’s reign as Austria coach got off to a dream start.

Martin Stranzl fired the ball against Alberto Gilardino and into the Austria net just seconds before half-time gave the world champions hope before debutant goalkeeper Ramadan Oczan gave Italy another gift with an own goal to level the scores midway through the second half.
Lippi included seven of his 2006 World Cup winners in his first team selection since returning to the helm in place of Roberto Donadoni.
Gilardino, who was an unused substitute in the World Cup final two years ago, was back in the frame again after being overlooked for much of Donadoni’s reign.
And the new Fiorentina striker had the first chance of the game after just two minutes when Gianluca Zambrotta and Antonio Di Natale played a neat one-two down the right with the former’s low cross just too far ahead of Gilardino.
Zambrotta was looking lively on the right and tested Alex Manninger with a powerful left-footed shot from 25 yards as Italy dominated the early proceedings, but it was Austria who went ahead with their first attack.Italy failed to clear their lines and the ball landed just in front of Pogatetz who volleyed firmly past Buffon from 10 yards.
Lippi indicated to his players to keep their calm and continue playing the way they were, but he showed signs of frustration when Gilardino missed his third chance of the game moments later as he failed to beat Manninger in a one-on-one situation.
Having failed to take their chance to get back on level terms, Italy found themselves two behind in the 39th minute.
A long throw-in found its way to Janko, who turned in an instant to divert the ball into the top corner via a deflection off Andrea Barzagli

Just as it seemed Italy would go into the interval two down, Di Natale raced forward and sent over a cross from the left which Stranzl tried to clear ahead of Gilardino but he could only strike the ball against the Italy striker’s chest and into the goal.
Italy captain Alessandro Del Piero, who had had a quiet first half, missed the next one-on-one opportunity for Italy before a bizarre own goal brought them level.
Oczan had barely entered the field to earn his first cap in the Austria goal when he flapped at a cross from Zambrotta and pushed the ball into his own goal.

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Norway 1 R Ireland 1

August 20, 2008

Final score 1-1 report to follow Keane 44’ Reginiussen 61’

Liverpool striker Robbie Keane was on target for the Irish just before the break, but a howler from Dean Kiely gifted defender Tore Reginiussen a second-half equaliser.

Ireland set out on the road to South Africa 2010 against Georgia next month, and had to weather a storm both figuratively and literally as the Scandinavians completed their own preparations for the forthcoming qualifiers.

After a slow start the visitors assumed control before the break and took a deserved lead through skipper Keane’s predatory 44th-minute strike.

However, when substitute goalkeeper Kiely missed a straightforward delivery from wide 16 minutes after the break, Reginiussen pounced.

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Russia 1 v Holland 1

August 20, 2008

Robin van Persie’s first-half strike gave the visitors a deserved 1-0 lead with the Dutch eager to avenge their defeat by Guus Hiddink’s men in the Euro 2008 quarter-finals two months ago.
The Arsenal forward beat Russia keeper Igor Akinfeyev, curling a delicate left-footed shot into the top corner from just outside the area in the 25th minute.
The Russians stunned the much-fancied Dutch 3-1 in extra time at the European Championship in June, securing their best showing at a major tournament in 20 years and a personal victory for Hiddink over his home country.
The home team fielded an almost identical lineup on Wednesday. The Dutch were missing defender Khalid Boulahrouz and midfielders Wesley Sneijder and Orlando Engelaar through injury as well as goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar and forward Ruud van Nistelrooy, who retired from the international game after Euro 2008.

The Dutch, who recorded a comfortable 4-1 win over Russia in a friendly in Amsterdam in February last year, dominated for much of the lively encounter at Moscow’s Lokomotiv stadium, with van Persie being the most active for the visitors until he was substituted by Ibrahim Afellay midway through the second half.
The Russians lost their top striker Roman Pavlyuchenko to injury late in the first half but escaped with a draw when Zyryanov calmly fired from the spot for the equaliser 12 minutes from time after Giovanni van Bronckhorst fouled Dmitry Torbinsky inside the box.

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